Translation of Light / Ruhama Veltfort

About the Author
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POEMS
Opening
Sandscape
Shrapnel
Lost Child
Brooklyn, 1963
La Sirena
Zhikr
Susan, Number Four

Early Bird Sutra
Why the Boddhisattva Came
   to Battery Street: 7:55 AM

The Lightning-Struck Tower
The Well
Why Monks Are Fat
Retreat
Meada in Two Worlds

Looking at the Vault
   of Heaven

Translations from the Spanish:
Song of the Lovers
Dark Night: Climbing
   Mount Carmel

Flame

 

 

Dark Night: Climbing Mount Carmel

Translated from the Spanish: En Una Noche Oscrua, by by St. John of the Cross.*
Click here to read original Spanish text in a separate window.

Songs of the soul that longs to arrive at that high state of Perfection, which is union with God, through the via negativa.
 

In the dark of night
Aflame with the craving of love’s fire
What luck!
I left when no one noticed
While my house was hushed in sleep.

In the dark of night
Safely, by disguise and a secret stairway
How lucky!
By darkness and deceit
While my house was still asleep.

In that auspicious night
In secret, where no one saw me
And I saw nothing —
There was no light to see by
But the love-flame in my heart.

And that light led me on!
Brighter than the sun at noon
Led me to where He waited
The One who saw me true
Who waited in a place that no one knew.

Oh night, guiding me on!
Oh night, more precious to me than the dawn!
Oh night that united
The Beloved and the Lover,
The Lover transformed into the Beloved!

My heart blossomed like a flower
Grown and tended just for Him
And there, while He slept
I held Him close
The cedars’ breath fanned a breeze for us.

From the battlements, a gust of wind
Ruffled His hair
His sweet hand touched my neck
And wounded me there —
All my senses were suspended in the air!

In that perfection, blessed, I rested still,
My face against the Lover’s breast
Everything stopped
I dropped it all
Forgetting my self, there, among the lilies.

 

Click here to read original Spanish text in a separate window.

*St. John of the Cross (San Juan de la Cruz) was born June 24, 1542 at Fontiveras, Spain, a small village near Avila. He was a Carmelite friar, a mystic and a leading figure in the Catholic Reformation. Along with his friend and mentor, St. Teresa of Avila, he was one of the founders of the Discalced (Reformed) Carmelite order.  He died December 14, 1591.

   © Ruhama Veltfort, 2010  

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